Aromatase inhibitors from Urtica dioica roots

D Gansser 1G Spiteller



Methanolic extracts of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) roots were investigated for aromatase inhibition. Enzyme inhibition was detected only after appropriate chromatographic separation. Inhibitory effects on aromatase could be demonstrated in vitro for a variety of compounds belonging to different classes. The following compounds developed weak to moderate activity: secoisolariciresinol, oleanolic and ursolic acid, (9Z,11E)-13-hydroxy-9,11-octadecadienoic acid, and 14-octacosanol (5). Inhibitory effects on aromatase have been known to date neither for pentacyclic triterpenes nor for secondary fatty alcohols. The potential physiological significance of the above findings is discussed. Compound 5 is a previously unknown constituent of plants.